Bognor boss hopeful heading to Grimsby

Rocks boss Jamie Howell and his players applaud the fans on Saturday
Rocks boss Jamie Howell and his players applaud the fans on Saturday
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Rocks boss Jamie Howell believes his side have what it takes to turn around their FA Trophy semi-final deficit on Saturday.

Nathan Arnold got the only goal to ensure National League high flyers Grimsby Town ran out 1-0 winners in the first leg at Nyewood Lane.

That result leaves two-divisions lower Ryman League Premier team Rocks with it all to do heading to Blundell Park.

But Howell feels his side possess the quality to turn the tie on its head and book a Wembley final date.

He said: “Obviously, heading to them being a goal down is not ideal but we are still in with a shout.

“I felt it was important for us to go to there with a chance and we certainly have that.

“It would be nice to have been level or ahead but we are just one goal behind, so anything can happen.”

Howell believes he saw enough on Saturday to ensure his side have an opportunity to turn the tie around.

He added: “I thought we matched them for periods but in the end one moment cost us.

“A few people were saying our passing was off a little on Saturday but you have to factor in the opposition.

“Grimsby are a quality side and we knew what a tough two legs this would be.

“But at certain points in the first leg we were on top, though, at times, were just not clinical enough.”

Clinical is a key word for Howell and with the experience and talent Town possess, he feels they have to take any chance they get on Saturday.

He said: “If we are to turn this around then we have to take any chance that comes our way, to be honest.

“When you come up against teams like Grimsby you don’t get too many opportunities.

“It takes one moment to get a goal, though, and we know that if we can score first then that changes the tie completely.”

Bognor will be without season ever-present Doug Tuck, with the defender suspended for Saturday’s second leg.

Howell admits he will be a huge loss for the team but also feels it gives a great chance for someone to step up and make themselves a hero.

On Tuck missing the game, he said: “That is a massive blow for us. Doug has been such a big player for us this year and we will miss him on the day.

“But this gives someone a chance to step in and make a name for themselves.

“To come in and replace Doug will not be easy for anyone but it’s a chance one of the squad will be given.”

Brighton loanee Chike Kandi was forced off with a slight knock on Saturday, with that being Howell’s only concern for Grimsby.

He added: “Chike got a little knock and he is one we will look at.

“We will have to assess everyone after last night’s game but hopefully most of the squad make it through without any knocks or injuries.

“This is such a massive game for this club and it would be such a shame for a player to pick up a knock so near to the second leg.

“It’s been a great achievement from us already but to take just that one extra step and reach Wembley would be unbelievable and it’s something we will go to Grimsby believing we can do.”

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